Los Angeles, CA (PressExposure) August 04, 2009 -- Bargain with a debt collector is like going head on collision with a tough, professional negotiator.
Tips that can help you keep ahead of these shrewd task masters. Learn your rights.
When you know your rights the debt collectors
â¢ know they can't bluff you â¢ Are less likely to try aggressive tactics â¢ Play fair
For details, check out consumer brochure on fair debt collection from the Federal Trade Commission.
A free consumer brochure on debt collection also is available from the National Consumer Law Center. Call NCLC's publications department at (617) 542-9595 and ask for a copy of "What You Should Know About Debt Collection."
Many states have their own debt collection laws. For more information, contact the attorney general's office in your state. Don't let retirement sneak up on you.
Prioritize your bills No matter what a debt collector says, an unpaid credit card bill is not the most important bill you have to pay. Providing necessities for your family is. Estimate how much you can pay and offer less.
â¢ Don't do anything you can't afford to do â¢ Don't do anything dangerous
â¢ Sending postdated checks to a debt collector â¢ Automatic electronic payments from your checking account â¢ Presuming goodwill on the other side
Don't tell them your life story Don't explain them why you can't pay, because
â¢ They don't have sympathy â¢ This is what they do for their living â¢ They hear these sob stories on daily basis Keep private information private Say as little as possible about yourself and stick to the facts. Don't give a debt collector Personal information such as
â¢ Your place of work â¢ Where you bank â¢ Your checking account number
Stay calm and focused
No matter what a debt collector says, keep your cool and stay focused on the negotiation which will ensure you More in control
â¢ Sound less nervous â¢ Get what you want out of the negotiation
Tape the call if you can Taping the conversation
â¢ Keeps the debt collector on their best behavior â¢ Ensures that you have a record of the call
Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia allow you to secretly tape your phone conversations.
In the other 15 states, you can tape with the other party's permission.
Even after you announce to the debt collector that you are going to tape the conversation, and he or she keeps talking, that's considered granting you the permission do so.
Make sure there's a record â¢ File all collection letters â¢ Keep detailed notes of collection calls â¢ Note the day and time of each call â¢ The name of the collection agency â¢ The first and last name of the caller â¢ Make a note of what was said â¢ get proof of the deal you've made with them
Get proof of payment agreement in writing â¢ Send a letter to the debt collector outlining the payment agreement â¢ send the letter via certified mail â¢ receive a receipt once the letter is delivered â¢ Keep a copy for your records â¢ If you pay by check, write on the check that Cashing that check constitutes payment in full
Wipe your credit clean Ask a debt collector to â¢ Remove any negative information they've placed on your credit report â¢ List your account as paid in full rather than paid in settlement â¢ Get it in writing once they agreed
Don't be rushed â¢ Do not let a debt collector rush you to send them money immediately â¢ Resist all those demands and quick offers â¢ Don't pay until you have confirmation of a payment agreement in writing
Negotiate at the end of the month Commissions for debt collectors are based on what they do each month. If you negotiate at the end of the month you would get really a good deal. It is always right to know your rights and keep a record of all your communications when you confront debt collectors.